STORM BRINGS RECORD RAIN­FALL

The Fresno Bee - - Front Page -

A mud­slide closed the Pa­cific Coast High­way and sur­round­ing roads in and around Mal­ibu neigh­bor­hoods.

The sec­ond storm in a week brought record­break­ing rain­fall to parched Los An­ge­les on Thurs­day, jam­ming traf­fic on South­ern Cal­i­for­nia high­ways and prompt­ing evac­u­a­tions in wild­firescarred ar­eas.

A mud­slide shut down Pa­cific Coast High­way and sur­round­ing roads in and around Mal­ibu neigh­bor­hoods charred by last month’s mas­sive fire that de­stroyed hun­dreds of homes.

Kirby Kotler and his neigh­bors spent days be­fore the storm stack­ing 18,000 sand­bags be­hind their homes along the high­way. But when heavy rains ar­rived, mud, wa­ter and rocks blasted through the bags and across their prop­er­ties.

Kotler, who wielded wa­ter hoses to beat back the flames in Novem­ber, used a trac­tor to keep the de­bris from en­ter­ing his home.

“Saving my house once again,” said Kotler, 57, a life­long Mal­ibu res­i­dent. “I’m more than a lit­tle con­cerned. If we get an­other blast of heavy rain there'll be no stop­ping the hill from coming down.”

Mal­ibu of­fi­cials re­ported no in­juries and no ma­jor prop­erty dam­age.

At Hol­ly­wood Bur­bank Air­port, about 15 miles north of down­town Los An­ge­les, no­body was hurt when a South­west Air­lines plane from Oak­land skid­ded off a wet run­way as it landed. The plane came to a stop in a graded area de­signed to slow air­craft that over­shoot the run­way, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

“As we landed, you could feel the brakes,” pas­sen­ger Grant Palmer told KABC-TV. “Then I started notic­ing the plane go­ing side­ways.”

Los An­ge­les and the rest of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia sorely need rain­fall. Vir­tu­ally the en­tire re­gion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing drought con­di­tions, with por­tions of Los An­ge­les and Ven­tura coun­ties and ar­eas along the Mex­i­can bor­der in ex­treme drought.

The storm pro­vided a big boost in and around Los An­ge­les. The down­town area set a new rain­fall record for the day with 1.9 inches of rain, nearly dou­ble the pre­vi­ous record set in 1997, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ported. Nor­mal monthly rain­fall for De­cem­ber is only a bit more – 2.33 inches.

While rain caused nu­mer­ous ac­ci­dents and back­ups on LA-area free­ways, heavy snow forced the clo­sure of In­ter­state 5 in the Grapevine area be­tween Los An­ge­les and the San Joaquin Val­ley. The hours-long shut­down along the key north-south route caused back­ups for miles.

Mo­torists were urged to use cau­tion on moun­tain passes, where up to 6 feet of snow was pre­dicted at higher el­e­va­tions.

Manda­tory evac­u­a­tions were or­dered for hun­dreds of homes in Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Moun­tains south of Los An­ge­les and Lake Elsi­nore neigh­bor­hoods in River­side County. Both were burned in an­other mas­sive wild­fire ear­lier this year. Video showed a churn­ing, muddy tor­rent full of tree trunks smash­ing down a bridge guardrail.

In Or­ange County, flood­ing closed sev­eral schools. Flood­wa­ters also sub­merged sev­eral cars in Costa Mesa and rain par­tially col­lapsed the roof of a com­mer­cial build­ing in Irvine but no in­juries were re­ported.

A por­tion of south­bound State Route 170 in Los An­ge­les was shut down af­ter mud flowed onto the road­way. Fire­fight­ers res­cued mo­torists from cars stuck in a flooded in­ter­sec­tion in the city’s North Hol­ly­wood area.

East of Los An­ge­les, a 13-car crash snarled the morn­ing com­mute for sev­eral hours on a rainy free­way near Moreno Val­ley but caused only one mi­nor in­jury, au­thor­i­ties said.

Fire­fight­ers also res­cued a man from the flood-swollen Los An­ge­les River in sub­ur­ban La Habra. Storm wa­ters in the concrete flood-con­trol chan­nel have swept away peo­ple in pre­vi­ous years.

REED SAXON AP

A road is closed Thurs­day due to flood­ing in an area burned by the Woolsey Fire in Mal­ibu.

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